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The late Magoha’s son battles tears, emotions while eulogizing his father

By Winnie Mabel February 9th, 2023 3 min read

A requiem mass was held for the late Professor George Magoha at the Consolata Shrine, Westlands in Nairobi County on February 9, 2023. Among the emcees of the event was the late Magoha’s cousin, former cabinet secretary without a portfolio, Raphael Tuju.

Among several speakers who lined up to address the mourning congregation was Dr. Michael Magoha, the only child of the late Magoha and Dr Barbara Odudu Essien Magoha.

YOUNG COUPLE: Dr. Michael Magoha, the only child of the late Professor Magoha and Dr Barbara Odudu Essien Magoha. PHOTO| COURTESY

Also read: Magoha’s daughter-in-law, grandchild pay tear-jerking tributes

As he spoke to the congregation, he would momentarily be overwhelmed with emotions and fought back tears as he assured the audience that he was okay, that they were all there to celebrate his father’s life and that he found it weird that a person was expected to talk about his whole life with a person condensed into 15 minutes.

“…don’t look so somber, he would want us to celebrate. You know he always liked to be early for everything so we didn’t know it would include his death.

I didn’t know what to do because im supposed to give a tribute and that means expressing your feelings and I personally find it a bit strange because how do you condense your entire life into 10, 15 minutes with someone. Sometimes it feels a bit insulting but what would he want? He would say to just speak from my heart and be honest,” said Dr Micheal.

Also read: You were too generous! Magoha’s siblings pay tribute to brother who ensured their successes

At several intervals, as he paid his tribute, he would pose and compose himself, assuring the audience that he was okay and he would continue with his tribute.

“The second thing that hit me was who am I talking to? There are people way above my pay grade who will never understand what you do, there’s my family and there’s friends and family. And then I realized there is one job where I’m the only person actually qualified to talk about and I didn’t have to work for this job- and that’s being his son.

In keeping with his memory because we all have to celebrate, don’t worry, relax, relax (as he battled emotions to compose himself), I’ll explain what it meant to be his son,” added Dr Michael.

Dr. Michael Magoha, the only child of the late Professor Magoha and Dr Barbara Odudu Essien Magoha. PHOTO| COURTESY

With his voice breaking, he went on to say that, “a couple of things that people didn’t realize, all through my life, if I ever needed my dad… (Pausing and composing himself) – don’t worry, don’t worry, I’m okay. He would want me to do this alone- he was available.

Also read: Explainer: Magoha’s funeral procession and Nigerian burial rites

It didn’t matter if he was a surgeon or a cabinet secretary. And that’s because he believed in family, and it was always the same. One phone call, if he can talk, he talks immediately. If he can’t talk, immediately he finishes, he will come to me. And that’s for 38 years of my life.

I’m glad people touched upon it because people used to ask the question ‘How was it being raised by this kali (strict) person etcetera’ and I never saw that person. Same with my mum and that’s why I really love this picture because it’s all I saw.

He just smiled- to put it simply, he always just kept it very simple. All he kept saying was do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it. It was that simple and that’s all he did,” continued Dr Michael.

In his final remarks, he mentioned three things people would take away with them. “Family is the most important thing to a person, and giving them time, not comparing oneself to others, and doing what one is expected to do when they are supposed to do it.”

Also read: Inside the late Professor George Magoha’s 48 page funeral program